Meredith Barnhill, the Lady Tigers’ new head coach, is looking to that experience to help them do what it takes “to help us make some noise in our new region.”
The Lady Tigers will be playing in Region 5B-AAA, moving up from Region 7A-AA.
A year ago they were 8-17 overall and 3-12 in the region.
The coach said although she just assumed her position this year, she has been around the Lady Tigers the past two years as an assistant coach and has been a head coach four years.
“I’m familiar with the kids and they’re familiar with me,” she said. “That has helped in the transition.”
She has a vision for how each player can help the team play its best.
“Cassidy Howren, our senior guard, always plays hard, which is what I need from her this year,” Barnhill said. “You can’t wear her out. She’s so tough.”
She said Howren is one of the keys to the team’s success. “I need her to be a leader and even more of a scoring threat than in the past.”
She’s seen signs Howren is stepping into those roles. “She’s had a good preseason, so i’m excited about her senior year.”
Stephanie Kuhrt, a junior, is the second returning starter, a guard/forward.
“I look for her to also be a scoring threat and provide a defensive presence for us,” Barnhill said. “We’ll rely on her to do those things for us, too.”
She said Kuhrt also has stepped up her game since last year. “I’m really pleased with her work in the summer. She has improved her perimeter play.”
Mallorie Collum, another junior, is a returning post player.
“She was our scoring leader last year, averaging about 10 points a game,” the coach said. “We definitely need that from her again and for her to increase her scoring a bit.”
Barnhill is looking for her to play an even stronger game inside this year.
“She’s probably the strongest true post player we have,” she said. “We need her to lead us in rebounding, too.”
The coach said her “projected starters” for the team at present include those three plus senior Taylor Weeks and junior Julia Roberson, both guards.
She said Adairsville is lucky because the nucleus of the team has been together some time.
“We have experienced players returning,” she said. “We’ve got 12 kids, nine of them juniors and seniors, and they’ve all seen plenty of playing time except those with injuries. I look for that experience to help us compete this year. They’ve played together for two and three years and have been the varsity team together.
“Even though we’re in a new region, they have been involved in region play and understand the importance of region games and playing together. I’ve made some changes in what we’re doing, but they’ve done a good job at making it work.”
Barnhill said the team also will draw heavily on the experience of seniors Mallory Bramblett and Michaela King, both guards.
“We will be looking for them to come in off the bench and help us win,” she said. “Mallory is a scoring threat and Michaela is a defense catalyst for us. We also are looking for them to provide senior leadership.”
The coach said being in a new region will be a challenge.
“I look for us to compete in the region and I’d like to mix it up,” she added.
Barnhill expects a lot out of region foes Cartersville and Sonoraville.
“Cartersville is always strong, of course, and Sonoraville is very well coached. I think they will be the two everyone else is looking at,” she said. “With our kids having experience and the work they have been putting into their play, I hope we can compete and make some noise in the region.”
She said one of the keys to the success of Adairsville, which opens its season today on the road against Pepperell, will be to keep the chemistry it has and to play hard all game long.
“Barring no major injuries, our chemistry should help us as the season progresses,” she said. “We need to work together and we’re going to have to play hard for four quarters. If we can stay focused, then we should be able to compete.”
Lady Tigers 2012 schedule
Today, Nov. 27, Adairsville at Pepperell, 6 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 30, Cass at Adairsville, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 1, Adairsville at Armuchee, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 4, Pepperell at Adairsville, 6 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 7, Adairsville at Gordon Central, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 8, Adairsville at Trion, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 11, North Murray at Adairsville, 6 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 14, Adairsville at Cartersville, 7 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 17, Adairsville vs. Trion in RN-T Holiday Festival at Berry College, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 29, Adairsville at Darlington, 4:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 4, Ringgold at Adairsville, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 5, Adairsville at Cass, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 8, Coahulla Creek at Adairsville, 5:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 11, Adairsville at Sonoraville, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 15, Adairsville at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, 6 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 18, Gordon Central at Adairsville, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 22, Adairsville at North Murray, 6 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 25, Cartersville at Adairsville, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 26, Trion at Adairsville, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 29, Adairsville at Ringgold, 6 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 1, Adairsville at Coahulla Creek, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 5, Sonoraville at Adairsville, 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 8, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe at Adairsville, 7 p.m.
Lady Tigers 2012 roster
Mallory Bramblett senior guard
Erika Cannon senior
Cassidy Howren senior guard
Michaela King senior guard
Sarah Landen senior
Taylor Weeks senior guard
Paige Cole junior
Mallorie Collum junior post
Kelsy Hice junior
Stephanie Kuhrt junior guard/forward
Julia Roberson junior guard
Lexie Adams sophomore
Katie Graf sophomore
McKenna Gulledge sophomore
Avery Hudson sophomore
Emily Sexauer sophomore
Sidnee Welchel sophomore
Lindsey Carnes freshman
Haleigh Chambers freshman
Victoria Davis freshman
Logan O’Neal freshman
Aimee Pacheco freshman
Callie Smith freshman
Reagan Whitener freshman